It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. Psalm 18:32.
Educate men and women to bring up their children free from false, fashionable practices, to teach them to be useful. The daughters should be educated under the mothers to do useful labor, not merely indoor labor but out-of-door labor as well. Mothers could also train the sons, to a certain age, to do useful things indoors and out-of-doors.
There are plenty of necessary, useful things to do in our world that would make the pleasure-amusement exercise almost wholly unnecessary. Brain, bone, and muscle will acquire solidity and strength in using them to a purpose, doing good hard thinking, and in devising plans which shall train them [the youth] to develop powers of intellect and strength of the physical organs, which will be putting into practical use their God-given talents with which they may glorify God.
This was plainly laid out before our health institution and our college as the forcible reason why they should be established among us; but as it was in the days of Noah and Lot, so it is in our time. Men have sought out many inventions and have widely departed from God's purposes and His ways.
I do not condemn the simple exercise of playing ball; but this, even in its simplicity, may be overdone. I shrink always from the almost sure result which follows in the wake of these amusements. It leads to an outlay of means that should be expended in bringing the light of truth to souls that are perishing out of Christ. The amusements and expenditures of means for self-pleasing, which lead on step by step to self-glorifying, and the educating in these games for pleasure, produce a love and passion for such things that is not favorable to the perfection of Christian character....
Suffering humanity needs help everywhere. The students may win their way to hearts by speaking words in season, by doing favors for those who need even physical labor. This will ... bring a consciousness of the approval of God. It will be putting the talents, entrusted to you for wise improvement, to the exchangers....
There are healthful methods of exercise that may be planned which will be beneficial to both soul and body.... It is our duty ever to seek to do good in the use of the muscles and brain God has given to youth, that they may be useful to others, making their labors lighter, ... turning the minds of the students from fun and frolic which often carries them beyond the dignity of manhood and womanhood.... The Lord would have the mind elevated, seeking higher, nobler channels of usefulness.—Selected Messages 2:321-324.
From Reflecting Christ - Page 187